Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fuck you, Phil Burress

Phil Burress has lost in court.

If you haven't been following it, there is a movement in Ohio to amend the state constitution to permit same sex marriage.  In 2004, an organization called Citizens for Community Values pushed through the harshest language in the nation to prohibit same-sex marriage, benefits for life partners, and inheritance rights.

The bully behind this is a self described sex-addict and social bully named Phil Burress, and he is the head of Citizens For Community Standards.   Burress, who has been married MULTIPLE times, felt that letting same sex persons marry would be bad for traditional marriage.  Like I said, Phil has been through several wives himself so he is an authority figure on the sacred institution of a man/woman marriage.

Burress is also a bit of a political bully, and he has threatened elected officials - especially Republicans - not to cross him or his causes or he will unleash his scorn upon them.   And for the most part, this new breed of republicans (lower case intended) sold their soul to Satan, I mean Burriss, to get his organization's backing so they could get elected in the first place.

The other thing about Burress is that he refuses to let anyone examine his books or membership records, since he is shielded by the fucked up campaign finance laws in this great nation . So there is no way of knowing how many people really support him (or don't), or what he does with the money that CfCV rakes in and how it's spent.

So imagine the look on Burress' face when a group headed by former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (D) decided that now was the time to take Burress and his organization on, and do a number on the 2004 amendment.

Burress' reaction?  To paraphrase him, Burress is on record as saying that Ohio voters have already spoken on this issue and there is no reason to revisit the same sex marriage.  He also warned elected officials not to mess with this issue as it had been settled in 2004.

WELL, Mary Jo Kilroy is a really nice human, but she also does suffer fools gladly.  She is CEO of Freedom to  Marry Ohio, an upstart action committee that is pushing now in Ohio for marriage equality.  The funny thing about Freedom to Marry Ohio is that it is doing this without the support of Equality Ohio, the organization that has been the front runner for things being "equal".


WELL, Equality Ohio said back in late winter that 2012-3 was not the time to push for marriage rights in Ohio so it wouldn't be getting involved and it would prefer if people just waited it out.

Why, again, you ask.

WELL, I think it has something to do with Equality Ohio's lead lobbyist being named as the new head of Ohio Republican Party.   Matt Borges, who is now on "leave of absence" for Equality Ohio is the newly appointed head of the Ohio GOP.  It would have been Borges who would have had to have thrown his muscle behind Kilroy's initiative by representing Equality Ohio in supporting the pending same-sex marriage fight.   So NATURALLY, not wanting to piss off the Republican base (which includes Phil Burress), and really, really wanting this boffo new job with all the power it brings, Borges and EO decided that the fight should happen on another day.

See how things work?

Undeterred, Kilroy and FtMO, refused to pack it in, and instead moved forward with their ballot language petitions.

Now, on another blog - which I love and shall remain nameless - there was great consternation when Ohio Secretary of State Mike DeWine turned the petitions away because of muddled language issues.  I used to work for Mike, and I know the man, and while he does not support same sex marriage personally, he also is a by the book kind of guy.  And if there is one thing that Mike DeWine hates, its courtroom challenges.  He hates laws that lead to courtroom challenges and he hates suits without merit or standing.

So when FtMO turned in a new set of petitions and clearer language, it cleared his office.   Mike DeWine may not personally like Same Sex Marriage BUT the law was met, and forward it goes.

This is where Phil Burress and his minions (Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, which is an "affiliate of CfCV) came in and sued Mike DeWine, Ohio's Attorney General, because the language was fuzzy and it will confuse Ohio voters.

Really?  That's the best you can do?

Evidently the REPUBLICAN  Ohio Supreme Court (only one Democrat) aren't afraid of Mr. Burress any longer either, and decided in a 7-2 with the Ohio Attorney General.

Take that Phil Burress, and SNAP.

So the fight continues and Burress by now should know that voting down this issue isn't going to be the slam dunk that it was in enacting it in 2004.  But a majority of Americans now supports the idea of same sex marriage, and the percentage of Ohio residents favoring same sex marriage is now greater than the percentage of 2004 voters who were against it.  FtMO expects the measure to move, on target, to the November 2013 ballot, and by then political pundits believe that a whopping 60% of Ohio votes could favor same sex marriages, and that would undo the Amendment born on our shoulders by Mr. Burress.

So I not only want to see this law over turned in my lifetime, but in Phil's lifetime as well.  I want to see this have to live with same sex marriage for a very long time.  I want to see him vexed when no one listens to him or heeds his warnings.  And that day is coming.

So fuck you, Phil Burress.  Fuck you, very much.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grave matters

I looked at the calender yesterday and noted that the weather looked good here in Central Ohio for Wednesday, and then would get progressively hotter and more miserable Thursday through Memorial Day, so I thought it best to scoot back home to Marion, Ohio and tend to the family graves in the family plot.

Back in the 1800s my great great grandfather bought a large plot - large enough 20+ graves -  in the park like cemetery overlooking the Swan Lake.  Prime real estate, too.  It fronted on one of the drives in the cemetery and was across the drive from his older brother Oliver's real estate in the cemetery.

The first burial was an infant who would have grown into my grandfather's aunt Lottie.  She died at 18 months from rheumatic fever, and a little marble marker was erected.  Two more children - my grandfather's cousins joined Lottie in the plot when they died of typhoid.  Then my great great grandparents joined the plot a year apart.  Though divorced, they are right next to one and other.  There wasn't money for the grand marker that he envisioned like his brother erected.

Then something happened.  To pay for the headstones for each of their graves, my great grandfather and his two surviving sisters sold a half interest in the family plot to a family friend.  Under the terms of the sale, the family would say whoever "died first got buried first."  This meant we had to share eternity with perfect strangers, and when its on a first come, first serve basis for the rest of time, the real estate became more valuable.   These people planted their dead overlooking Swan Lake, which was eventually filled in, renamed "Shady Grove", and the real estate sold for more burials.

My great grandfather and his daughter (my grandfather's sister) died of TB six months apart and were buried next to one and other.  Then a great aunt, another great aunt, my great grandmother, my grandparents and an uncle, and an aunt.  The other people buried their dead, but now we out numbered them, 4:1.

All the time growing up, every Memorial Day mom would drag me to the cemetery and we'd plant flowers, and trim, and kill weeds, especially after her mother died.

"Aunt Eva left everything she had in the world to Pop if he promised there would always be flowers on her grave," she would remind me.   And every year there were.

Then Mom joined the residents of the plot in December, 2010.

Before it was just planting flowers.  After she was gone it was less about planting flowers, took on more meaning of tending to the dead.

So yesterday I sat with Mom's grave stone.  I caught her up to date on what was happening while I removed the clay dirt we have here and replaced it with good topsoil.  I planted to spikes, two coleus, and two begonias.  Then I did the same at each grave in our family.  Then I used a nylon brush to dislodge the lichens that grow on the granite surfaces.   And the three little marble markers?  They had dissolved away to the point where they were unreadable so I paid out my pocket to have them replaced with granite markers and the same inscriptions.

The other people used to put on a great show with their floral plantings, but their area is unkempt.  Maybe they're done with the space, or too old or have other concerns.  It's not my problem.  But out our graves look cohesive, look kept up and look FABULOUS.

My cousins never go to the cemetery - they send their daughter to the store with fifty dollars for flowers and she spends five dollars on a geranium for her grandfather and pockets the rest.  Since I have no children to raise, the cemetery plot has become my duty, just as the role of keeper of the family genealogy is my duty as well.

Next year, if we move, I wonder who will take this duty on in my stead.

And the rest of the spaces?  Well, I went back and reread the deed, and found out you don't have to be dead to get a space.  You just have to be a direct descendant of the original deed holders to make your reservation, first come, first serve.  So I have a space, and my cousins have spaces and my remaining uncles and aunt have their spaces as well.

And what about those other people?  No swans, no lake front view.  But what they don't know about the other spaces, won't hurt them, either.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fresh from storage... Cookie's Big Gay Oldsmobile.  BGO is freshly washed, and sometime this week is getting an old fashioned  paste wax job.

Last night was the husband's 50th birthday party and to celebrate BGO, which is also a 1962 model, was giving rides.  And because owning 19 feet of vintage fun is no fun unless the others get to have fun with it, guests were allowed to get behind the wheel and take her for a short spin.   All this, of course happened before the wine and beer flowed.

And what happened after guests decided to let their hair down as the right progressed?

They wanted their pictures taken in the trunk of the car.   I have many more damning photographs that I will be using in the future when favors are needed or sought from these people.

Hope your weekend was everything you hoped it would be!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

15 Years of Propinquity

Duxbury, October, 1997

I spent the first 34 years of my life thinking that life was something that you just settled for and that moments of fun were the things that got you through all the rest of the middling.

When I was with my family, I had to be one person, and when I was with the man that I had spent nine years, eleven months and two weeks of my life with, I was someone else.  But even when I was with him, I was never fully with him.  He said that he couldn't totally commit, and it made me feel like the other man in our relationship.  My shrink summed it up by saying that we were "alone, together" and that I had found a guy who never really accepted himself.  Well, I woke up one morning, as we approached a milestone anniversary, and smelled the proverbial coffee.  I summed it up by saying I couldn't celebrate a milestone anniversary of ten years when I had very little to celebrate, and I left him.

Then, fifteen years ago this month I reconnected with my friend E from college - who I hadn't seen for 15 years.   E was newly "out" and that was exciting.  In college everyone wanted to be with E, me especially.  So I contacted him,  I invited him to my house for dinner, and I fell hard for him, and he for me.  We've been together ever since, our lives are fully entwined.  He's my best friend, he knows everything about me, and just as I let him be him, he lets me be me.  We finish each others sentences and when either of us loses ability to find the exact word on the tip of the tongue, the knows what it is and answers it back.  Together, we have been in propinquity for 15 years.

Some people never find what we have, or grow entwined while together.  If I had to go through everything that I went through in life to get to the point where I could love myself enough to love him like he deserves, then I have a life with no reservations, no second thoughts. no regrets.  Everything before him was well worth the price I paid during those first 34 years, it was well worth the wait.  My real life began on May 15, 1997.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

My luncheon with Phyllis

You've heard of the movie My Dinner with Andre?

Well now you're going to hear about My Luncheon with Phyllis.

Phyllis is a dear friend from high school.  Phyllis was beautiful.  Phyllis was funny and smart and went to a good college.  Got a whiz bang job in TV.  And then she married really well, to a man that she called "Daddy".  They had a fun few years, she got pregnant and they had a daughter, and then he died.  This was twenty-five years ago and Phyllis has never recovered.  Did I mention that Phyllis' husband was SEVENTY FIVE when she married him?  And that he was EIGHTY when he died?



She found Daddy, dead of natural causes in his chair in their den.  In 1987!

And he left her everything.  But she seldom leaves home.  She's never gotten over Daddy's death.

And she's getting a bit squirrely.

So we meet for lunch every now and then when I can lure her out into the real world.  She looks seventy and she's just turned fifty.

Phyllis is terrified that someone will notice her, so we meet way out in the burbs for lunch.  She always has to pick the place.  Why?  "Phyllis has control issues," she'll tell you.

This is the most recent annoying tick that she has picked up - Phyllis talks about herself in the third person.  Why?  "Because people want to know what Phyllis is doing these days."

Well, there you go.

So we met at Panera today because "This is the last place that people would expect to see Phyllis," she explained as she looked around the room.   "And Phyllis blends in at Panera," she says while wearing a turban and big sunglasses.   Did I also mention that Phyllis was carrying a pet carrier that looks like a purse and had one of her cats in it?

"Peetey loves being with Phyllis," she explained.

I ask my usual questions: Is she getting out? No, the world is such a mess.  Is she watching too much TV? Yes, but not those reality shows because they don't deal in reality.  And what of her daughter, Mimi?

"Mimi?  Mimi is fabulous and Phyllis couldn't be happier because Daddy would be so proud of how Phyllis has raised Mimi."

Mimi this.  Mimi that.  Mimi is working to save the starving in Africa. Blah, blah, blah Mimi.

I often wonder where Phyllis fell off the treadmill of life.  She used to be so fun.  Even after Daddy died she was fine for a while.  Now she's so, well, odd.   Not eccentric.  Just odd. And I feel bad for her because I'm one of the few people that she'll interact with in public.   Still, these encounters can leave me with a splitting headache.

Most of the time my end of the conversation was "Yeah, uh huh, really, I know, and seriously?"

We left after lunch, and she finished her third raspberry iced tea ("My, Phyllis finds this the most refreshing thing in the world!") I walked her to her car - a burnt orange 1977 Lincoln Mark V with an interior that looks like the inside of a womb.  It used to be "Daddy's" when he was alive and it still looks show room new.  She gave me kiss on the cheek and told me to let her know when the Class of '81 has our twentieth class reunion is because  "Phyllis thinks it would be a hoot!"

And like that, she was off, driving hellzapopping toward her house in Bexley.

I stopped trying to tell her that the 20th reunion was 11 years ago.  What's the point? I mean she knows who the President is.  She knows that she needs to buy low and sell high.  And Phyllis would give you the shirt off her back if you needed a leopard blouse.  Sometimes she has moments of shear brilliance.  And then she gets into one of these moods and she starts pining for Daddy.

"People used to point at Phyllis and Daddy and say things like 'It's nice you bought your daughter that mink.' It wasn't just a mink.  It is an EMBA mink and Daddy did it because he really loved Phyllis.  Those other people were just bitches" and then she gets distant and gets Misty (one of her cats that she claims sucks up her negative thoughts) and can of frosting and shuts down for a while.

Is she depressed?  No.  Just something, somewhere, along the way got broken and she just worked around it.  Most of our old friend from school dropped her when she became exhausting.  But I think about the old adage "if a tree isn't growing, its dying." I see Phyllis as a Bonsai.  She's still living, just a little emotionally stunted.  So I'm there for her when she wants to have a salad and chat. And that's what friends are for, right?

Thankfully she remembered to take her cat with her this time, because Cookie hates it when Cookie has to play pet taxi.

Really, Cookie does.

Musical interlude

Darlings - I have just come from spending time this afternoon with a a dear classmate of mine - and she has totally lost it.

 So here's some entertainment to enjoy while I regroup and get rid of this splitting headache that she gave me with her talk of black helicopters, her daughter (who she insists is magnificent) and her cats.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A paler shade of yellow: Feeling a bit phlegmish

So last week I came down with this annoying cold.   And their is nothing worse than a spring cold because at best they're middling and inconvenient, at their worst, they can sideline you from early springtime fun.

Everything was progressing according to plan - tickling in the throat one day, up into the head then next, then down into the chest and cough, cough, cough for six days - and the blasted thing seemed like it was winding down when: BAM, yesterday at about 2PM I started feeling awful.   How awful?  Like immediate fever, woozy head and that inner voice saying "Uh-Oh..."  We were out running errands and when I got home I took my temperature (101 degrees) and I went right to bed.

Last night it was worse, fever, chills and every joint in my body hurt so bad that I slept for two hours and was up at  6AM shaking like a leaf.

So husband took the dogs to daycare and I hunkered down.  At 8:10 I called the doctor to see if I could get in and they said come right now - don't even shower.

So I get into the doctors office and the nurse takes me back to the exam room, and we start that delightful dance of "What color is it?"

Her: Are you coughing up anything?

Me: Yes.

Her: What color is it?

Now I've been going to this doctors office for over 15 years because I love them, and my doctor is so damn cute, just seeing him makes me feel better even before he lays a hand on me.  But this part of the exam always leaves me at a loss.

Her: Does it have a color?

Me: Yeah.

Her: Is it yellow, greenish yellow, dark yellow, brown?


What do you say?  Buttercream? Yellow, but not a cold hospital yellow?  Summer Sunshine Blush?  Amana Avocado Range?

She wrote her notes down, and few minutes later, the doctor came in and professed that there is a cold virus going around that doesn't seem like much until the bitter end when it smacks you down to remind you how miserable you could have been if it really felt like it.  I have that.

Again we went through the color spectrum of my "lung butter", and he started toying with me.  "Is it chunky?  Chunky is bad," and "Do you swallow it or spit it out? Whatever you do, don't swallow it - that's just plain gross."

He wrote two scripts, one for my cough and one for my phlegm flowage and I was off.   "Other than that, invest in Kleenex, drink plenty of water and if it gets worse see me first of next week."

"Remember, be on the look out for chunky lung butter."

Lung butter, indeed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not just gray, but Deloris Gray

As you know, I Cookie, could be moving soon.  The husband is still in the running for a transfer, and we both are still holding out hope for Baltimore, Maryland, but we are also preparing ourselves for Louisville, Kentucky, which would be a great disappointment to both of us because we don't want to go there.

But, if the call comes, go we must, and thus, we must go.  And we hope to know something definitive by the end of May.

Several weeks ago, when word came down that it was looking more like Louisville, Kentucky, than Baltimore, Cookie curled into a fetal ball and cried. Louisville?  Me?  A child of Shaker Heights, banished to  Kentucky?

I did not just weep, I cried so much that I leached salt from my being and sent my electrolytes into a tizzy and came down with the first cold that I have had in two years.  No fun.  But its my own fault.

You see, Cookie is neither a fan of bourbon, local music scenes (its that live theater thing, again) or horse racing.  Mention the Kentucky Derby and I am ambivalent on a good day, and annoyed the next.  Kentucky has nothing for us; in fact - it has less than nothing.

I, Cookie, and my husband, were looking forward to living in a state that has same sex marriage rights.

Now we could be shoved off into the Land That Time Forgot. A place that elected Mitch "Chicken Lips" McConnell to the US Senate. A state that does not require it's eye doctors to be board certified.  My God!

The only good thing about Kentucky is that our housing dollars go further.  But it's still FUCKING Kentucky!

Anyhow, work on Chateau d'Cookie now begins anew, as time marches on, and even if we go to - Kentucky - our old Ohio home has to be ship shape and right as rain so we can sell it.

Today, its the front porch floor that gets a painting.  And we're painting the mother fucker gray.  Not just any grey, but "masonry porch floor mid-tone gray".  Isn't that a dreadful name?

So I have made an Executive Decision and have renamed the paint color "Deloris" in honor of Deloris Gray, the actress.

I mean, a color that is bleak should have something going for it?  And if we are heading for Kentucky, I see a lot of gray in my future.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WHO is responsible for this?

...for THIS?

And trust me I say I shall report this to the Hair Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Lusty Month of May

Here's hoping the month ahead is lusty and a bit depraved - in a Lerner & Lowe sorta way.